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Personalia — Oct. 4, 2004 {0175}

Personalia — Oct. 4, 2004 {0175}

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Personalia — Oct. 4, 2004 {0175}

Oct. 4, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0175}

An e-Review News Item

United Methodist Endorsing Agency endorses Florida Conference members

By Pamela J. Crosby**

The United Methodist Endorsing Agency (UMEA), a General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) initiative responsible for ecclesiastical endorsement for the ministry of pastoral care in specialized settings, has granted endorsements to 29 people.

Florida Conference persons endorsed by the agency are Kenneth W. Cocker for hospice care and Joseph G. Fisher, who is on active duty in the United States Air Force.

Specialized settings include military and civilian chaplains, pastoral counselors in hospitals, prisons, counseling centers, retirement homes, workplaces and other diverse ministry circumstances.

"This endorsement affirms that a person is performing a valid ministry of The United Methodist Church," said Patricia Barrett, an assistant general secretary in GBHEM's Division of Ordained Ministry, in a June press release. "These individuals successfully demonstrated they have the education, training, skills and, if required, the professional certification needed to carry out a variety of ministries."

Candidates for endorsement are interviewed in a peer review and discernment process. Interview teams forward recommendations to the endorsing committee for action. The committee, chaired by Bishop Gregory V. Palmer (Iowa Area), makes the final determination.

Candidates are reviewed three times a year. In 2002 and 2003 UMEA endorsed 61 and 75 persons, respectively.

For more information e-mail, call 615-340-7411 or visit

Florida women to serve on national Women's Division board

By Kelly C. Martini**

NEW YORK — Two Florida Conference women have been elected to the board of directors for the General Board of Global Ministries' Women's Division, an organization representing the denominations' one-million member United Methodist Women (UMW).

Nelida Mora-Morales of Miami and Betty Sue Mason of Plant City were elected in March by women from across the Southeast. The two met with other directors in Nashville, Tenn., in mid-September for an organizational meeting and celebration of the UMW's 135th anniversary
UMW is membership organization committed to fostering spiritual growth among members, developing leaders and advocating for justice domestically and globally. Members raise approximately $25 million a year for programs and projects related to women, children and youth in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world.
Morales has had a long commitment to the work of UMW. She is beginning her second four-year term as a division director. Born into the Methodist Church in Cuba, her father first became a Methodist when missionaries visited her hometown. She said her family had a large influence on her commitment to UMW.

"He [my father] celebrated his 100th birthday on Oct. 2, 2003. He lives in Miami.  My mother went to heaven in 1995. She was very influential in my learning to love the predecessor Women's Society of Christian Service. She was a faithful member and treasurer," Morales said. "The church and the women's organization have been one of the priorities in my life. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the missionary who saved my life as a sick child. I became a teacher in mission to a Methodist school far from home [in Cuba]."

The Women's Society of Christian Service was one of the predecessor organizations of UMW before 1972.
Morales moved to Miami in 1976 with her husband.

Mason, also in her second term as a director, has parallels to Morales' involvement. "I joined the Women's Society of Christian Service when I was a young mother and have been active and involved since then. I have benefited from many mission schools, studies and workshops, and my life has been enriched by the many opportunities for spiritual growth," she said. "I guess you can say my years of involvement have defined who I am today."

Division directors meet twice a year outside New York City for board meetings, then around the country on specific national and international issues that concern women and children. They will be responsible for making decisions on ways they want to respond, advocate and spend money on the issues and programs affecting women and children.

Jan Love, chief executive officer of the Women's Division, welcomed the new directors. "The end of one quadrennium and the beginning of another leaves us with mixed feelings. We have great appreciation for all those faithful women who served for the last four years and sadness in knowing that we will not be working with them in quite the same way. But we also combine that with great joy in welcoming the talent and energy of a new set of faithful women committed to mission who will direct the Women's Division work," Love said. "We look forward to their ideas, their enthusiasm and their dedication to addressing the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. We depend on our directors to chart a course for us as we seek to respond to God's call to mission in the future, and we are grateful for their willingness to serve in this demanding role."

For more information on the work of United Methodist women go to

Emory Course of Study School graduates Florida students

By Debbie Camphouse**

ATLANTA — The Florida Conference's Guido Benazet, Craig Paul, Susan Lewis, David Broadbent and Sandra Garner were among 44 students who graduated from Emory University's Course of Study School during ceremonies in Cannon Chapel Aug. 5. 

Graduation marks the completion of 20 hours of required course work on campus at Emory and in various locations across the Southeast. Some of the students graduated at the end of a planned five-year curriculum. Others took as long as 12 years to finish the work.

Of the graduates, eight, including Benazet and Broadbent, were awarded an Advanced Certificate making them eligible for appointment as elders in full connection. This special certificate marks additional study through the Course of Study program. Thirty-six received the Basic Certificate, allowing them access to the advanced program or to continued service in a specific appointment.

The preacher for the service, the Rev. Beth Luton Cook, director of church ministries education at Candler School of Theology, challenged the graduates and their friends to "begin with the end in mind." Cook contended that we become what we intend to be, using Romans 12:9-21 to discuss Paul's vision of his own ministry.

Course of Study, a method of preparing for ordained service in the United Methodist Church, does not require an undergraduate degree or a master of divinity degree from an approved school of theology or seminary. Emory has offered the Course of Study through Candler School of Theology for more than 30 years.

Tampa United Methodist Centers has new executive director

By Kitty Carpenter**

TAMPA — Stephen S. Langford, retired general secretary for administration for the Greater New York Division of The Salvation Army, has been selected through a national search as the new executive director of Tampa United Methodist Centers Inc. (TUMC.)

Langford assumed the position Aug. 2 after accepting the invitation of the TUMC board of directors to lead the multi-faceted, $11 million a year, community service agency. Langford succeeds the Rev. Louis Jones, who recently retired after 33 years with the mission organization.

Langford served in senior leadership of the Salvation Army for 20 years. Since 1998 he has ranked third in the hierarchical command of the Greater New York Division, which includes five boroughs of New York City, Long Island and six upstate counties. He retired from the Salvation Army in September 2003.

During the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, Langford joined the ranks of the national heroes working tirelessly in the extensive rescue and recovery efforts. Langford was the first Salvation Army officer onsite at the World Trade Center and served as incident commander on the lead team responsible for designing The Salvation Army's New York Disaster response following Sept. 11. He played an instrumental role in coordinating all of The Salvation Army services at Ground Zero, including coordinating local and national officer placement, volunteers, donations, on-site food distribution, ministry and other emergencies as needed. Langford also represented The Salvation Army at the mayor's Office of Emergency Management crisis meetings. In addition, Fredrick Whitfield, a CNN anchor, featured Langford during a live interview on CNN. He was also one of 10 New York City citizens recognized by A&E Network's Biography program for implementing The Army's rapid-response to the World Trade Center attacks.

Langford was awarded two Telly Awards for outstanding non-network and cable TV video productions for serving as the producer of two separate videos for Salvation Army public relations.

A former resident of Hillsborough, N.J., Langford received a bachelor of science degree in recreation resource management from Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, P.a., in 1976, and a masters in professional studies in urban ministry from Alliance Theological Seminary, Nyack, N.Y. in 1998. He was commissioned and ordained as a minister in May 1981 at the Salvation Army School for Officers Training, Suffern, N.Y. From 1981 through 1992 Langford served as a corps officer and pastor at three Salvation Army churches in New York State. He served as The Army's divisional youth secretary from 1992 to 1998 in the Greater New York Division, followed by divisional social services secretary from 1998 to 2001. As divisional general secretary of administration, Langford was responsible for fiscal oversight of more than $40 million in capital property budgets, more than $10 million in property reserves and financial legacies donated to The Salvation Army. Langford said he had been planning to move to the Tampa Bay area to be closer to his father, a Clearwater resident.

Tim Bennett, TUMC's former board chairman, led the executive search committee in its national search, considering more than 300 resumes. "We are eternally grateful for the legacy of Louis Jones, but, thankfully, we believe Steve Langford is one of the best candidates in the nation to take TUMC forward," Bennett said.

"I thank God for the privilege of serving as a part of the TUMC team," Langford said. "For more than 100 years TUMC has been devoted to strengthening individuals, families and communities in the Tampa Bay area. I look forward to working with the board, staff and our community to build on this foundation and set a clear vision for the future of the Tampa United Methodist Centers."

Tampa United Methodist Centers Inc. is a faith-based, ecumenical non-profit organization related to the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and governed by an independent volunteer board of directors. With a heritage that dates back to 1892 in Ybor City, the community service organization now touches the lives of more than 22,000 families each month locally and across the state through the Rosa Valdez and Cuscaden Early Intervention Child Care Centers, Tampa United Methodist Centers Academy K-5 Charter School, SHARE Florida Food Network, The New Place Multi-Cultural Arts Center, Child Care Food Program, Acorn Trace Senior Housing and Housing Management Services. The Wolff Administration building for TUMC is located at 2801 N. 17th Street, Tampa. For more information call 813-248-6259 or visit


*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Crosby is a UMEA staff member. Martini is executive secretary for communications, Women's Division, GBGM. Camphouse is student assistant, OCME, Candler School of Theology. Carpenter is director of public relations for Tampa United Methodist Centers.